7 Types of Logistics Software to Help Your Business Grow - Login Lockdown

7 Types of Logistics Software to Help Your Business Grow

Alina Kostukova
April 26, 2023

In the business world, logistics can take many forms. Yet, its ultimate purpose remains the same: transporting goods from the manufacturer to the end customer.

Retailers are scratching their heads, wondering how to keep up with their order fulfillment as customer needs grow. Meanwhile, demand for third-party logistics services is skyrocketing.

As a result, businesses and logistics service providers are looking for ways to cut expenses and improve efficiency. 

Some companies bring in a third-party logistics partner to ensure the process is smooth and easy to handle. Other companies like to handle logistics in-house and use advanced software to keep everything in order.

Logistics software is crucial for every business, but finding the tool that best fits your needs can be challenging.

Today we’ll look at seven types of logistics software and their key features that can help your business grow.  

Supply chain logistics: first, middle, and last miles

One way to think about logistics is as a chain, with each link contributing to the whole.

The “supply chain” is the group of companies, individuals, and processes that work together to produce and sell a product or service. 

It’s anything that happens between the time a supplier sends raw materials to a manufacturer and the customer gets a finished product. So, naturally, logistics software is one of the ever-present parts of the supply chain.

The supply chain’s first, middle, and last miles are the three parts that most clearly show its logistics structure.

The first mile involves the delivery of raw materials to the manufacturer. Delivering finished goods to a storage facility also falls under this category.

Once goods reach the central storage facility, the first mile ends, and the middle mile starts. Middle-mile logistics entails moving goods between warehouses or from a warehouse to a sorting center. 

In the retail industry, the “last mile” refers to the final leg of transportation. Last-mile logistics is getting goods from retail outlets to the end customer. 

Traditionally, this part of the supply chain costs the most and takes the longest. Recent research by ATOS shows that between 40 and 60% of all supply chain costs happen at the last mile. 

At this last stage, the client plays a vital role. The ATOS study shows that customers care most about speed, convenience, and cost regarding delivery. Because of this, businesses need to have effective last-mile operations. 

There are no clear lines between the logistics’ first, middle, and last miles. Instead, those borders can be set by the type of business (traditional or e-commerce), the number of retail outlets, and the product type.

Image source: infographics by Track-POD

Logistics software types and use cases

As goods move toward the end customer, companies often need to add new logistics tools at each ‘mile’ of the journey. 

You can buy the following software solutions separately or as part of an integrated system. For example, businesses can integrate them into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Let’s define logistics management software types and use cases. It should help to identify the functionality needed along every mile of a supply chain journey. 

Image source: infographics by Track-POD

Warehouse management software

A warehouse management system (WMS) is a type of software designed to improve the efficiency of warehouse operations. 

Businesses typically use WMS between a supply chain’s first and middle miles, right before goods leave the warehouse and move to the retail outlet (or the customer).

The main functions businesses expect from a WMS are:

Meeting delivery deadlines is all about maintaining an adequate supply of products. 

You need to plan carefully, make accurate predictions, and keep records to keep track of stock levels. 

Low inventory can lead to stockouts, lost sales, and unhappy customers. But, having too much stock can tie up resources and prevent storage costs from going up. So warehouse management software is all about balance. 

WMS may also aid in tracking damaged goods and scheduling timely replacements. Processing customer returns quickly and tracking them is also part of the job.

You need a warehouse management system unless you run a tiny online store. The kind of software that easily integrates with your order management system.

Commercial Access Control Systems like Infassure play a crucial role in warehouse management, ensuring authorized personnel have secure and controlled entry to designated areas. Meeting delivery deadlines is all about maintaining an adequate supply of products.

Order management software 

Managing orders affects nearly every process in the supply chain. Order management software (OMS) helps businesses process orders, fulfillment, refunds, and exchanges. 

Effective warehouse management ensures rapid and smooth order delivery operations. So it’s common for companies to integrate WMS within OMS. 

Using OMS, a company can manage its entire fulfillment operation – from taking orders to monitoring stock levels. Additionally, sales automation features like lead scoring and customer segmentation can be integrated with OMS to prioritize high-value orders and personalize delivery options, further enhancing customer satisfaction and potentially boosting sales.

OMS may also be part of a more comprehensive CRM software (customer relationship management) solution. 

It’s a must for both consumers and companies to know where their orders are. That’s why businesses use OMS throughout all three miles of logistics. 

OMS can provide up-to-date data for internal reporting, revenue calculations, and long-term planning. While integrating CRM and order management software, keeping your data safe is vital. Encryption, access control, and regular backups are all helpful measures. Businesses can put them in place to help with any security issues.

Transportation management software 

Moving on, we have transportation management software (TMS). TMS coordinates the delivery of goods to stores or customers’ homes.

High transportation costs and increased consumer expectations require flawless operations, especially for a courier service

Transportation must occur on schedule, with low costs and no delays. For this reason, companies invest in TMS that can automate and streamline processes.

The transportation management system allows you to plan and forecast your assets. Maintaining contact with carriers, suppliers, and customers is essential for successful transportation management.

Freight tracking is one of the many advantages of an integrated TMS. It’s essential for any logistics organization that manages many loads and carriers. 

Managing your fleet and internal and external logistics suppliers is critical. Most advanced TMS systems will allow you to digitize and automate manual processes. 

In short, software for managing transportation should have the following features:

  • Asset planning
  • Freight tracking
  • Digital transformation
  • Shipping analytics

Fleet and courier management

Fleet and courier management software (CMS) helps businesses in complementary ways. So companies often offer fleet and courier management software as a single package. 

Fleet and courier management systems can help with several tasks. It includes vehicle location tracking, maintenance records, driver compliance reports, and workload optimization. It can also help you keep track of specific or specialty trucks through customizable fields. For example, if you require refrigerated trucks in your cold chain logistics strategy, your fleet management software can separate these couriers from non-refrigerated trucks.

If you are interested in understanding more about location tracking, particularly with phone numbers, check out this insightful article.

Vehicle safety management is essential for every mile of a supply chain. Most fleet management apps have checklists and guides to help keep vehicles safe and ready to go. 

Image source: infographics by Track-POD

Fleet management software can keep track of vehicle maintenance schedules. It can also send real-time alerts for possible safety problems. Such software ensures that vehicles are always in great shape and lowers the risk of accidents on the road.

Courier apps typically come as a standalone software version. They often integrate with dispatcher apps and fleet management systems.

CMS helps to manage couriers, track orders and productivity, and dispatch delivery tickets. 

You can add a driver’s home address, schedule, breaks, and other information to CMS so that your couriers can fill orders as quickly as possible. CMS also lets you get reports on driver productivity and find improvement areas. 

The best option is a cloud-based fleet and courier management solution, such as serverless GCP (Google Cloud Platform). A single-package solution makes keeping vehicle and driver information in sync easy. In addition, synchronized reports on driver and fleet productivity, powered by serverless GCP, help implement the necessary changes.

Let’s review the essential features of fleet and courier management software:

  • Automated dispatch
  • Advanced scheduling
  • Vehicle safety management
  • Tracking and analytics 

Route optimization software

Recent studies show that reducing delivery times and distance is now a business priority. 

Route optimization software helps businesses achieve these goals. It can significantly cut delivery times and increase productivity. 

Free route planning tools like Google Maps might be helpful if you have a small fleet and a low volume of orders. However, a manual route planner with more than a few daily deliveries is impractical. 

A manual route planner may lead to errors and delays, impacting customer satisfaction and business efficiency. 

Investing in route optimization software is an excellent way to save time and get better delivery numbers. Dynamic route optimization algorithms can transfer orders and provide live updates on the driver’s ETA using real-time data. These advantages help drivers avoid traffic jams and roadworks. 

This technology not only benefits drivers by saving them time and reducing stress. It also improves the overall efficiency of the delivery process. Businesses can increase customer satisfaction and boost their bottom line using route planner apps. 

Route optimization software works well for long-distance, multi-stop, or complicated routes. When planning your routes, you can adjust the number of stops, delivery windows, and vehicle type.

Route optimization software is a helpful tool for the business and the customer. It should be able to send customers SMS and email delivery status updates and allow live tracking with a dynamic ETA. 

Real-time updates and accurate ETAs help customers plan their day and avoid waiting for delivery. These small details can improve customer satisfaction and increase loyalty to the business. 

Delivery documentation software

The last mile ends when the goods finally get to the customer. So a business needs to document this final delivery step.

Delivery documentation software (DMS) is vital for the customer and the company. It’s crucial for record-keeping purposes and to ensure that the customer has received their goods in good condition. Its main job is to record successful deliveries and prevent potential disputes or issues. 

It also helps companies track their delivery performance and make improvements where necessary. 

Most software for delivery documentation has the following features:

  • Shipping label generator and scanner
  • Proof of delivery (POD)
  • Customer invoices

Using shipping labels lowers the chance of human error and eventual customer complaints. Any delivery documentation software needs to have a tool to generate shipping labels and a way to scan barcodes.

Proof of delivery (POD) is another essential document for the success of last-mile delivery. The best DMS allows you to customize your Proof of Delivery template and include all required details. 

ePOD can be a photo, a signature from the client, a custom note, or a geotag. With the help of such software, it’s easy to create, customize, and keep track of customer invoices. Those aren’t only needed for easy tracking of returns and exchanges, but also for excellent customer service. 

When this type of software links to an OMS, it makes it possible to get real-time updates on order status. With your apps for productivity management, you can also add DMS to have complete control. Keeping all of your paperwork in sync is always a good idea. 

Image source: infographics by Track-POD

Wrapping Up

Supply chain management is a series of logistics tasks that lead to delivering goods to the end customer. Every mile in the supply chain affects the results and the business’s revenues.

Optimizing the supply chain management process to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction is essential. Leveraging technology while streamlining and integrating processes can help. 

The first step is evaluating your business needs and choosing the software that’ll provide the most value. Consider the cost and implementation process when selecting logistics software for your business.

This article lists the types of logistics software that can best help your business’s supply chain logistics. With the right combination of tools, your business will thrive, and your customers will rejoice. 

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Here’s to your growth!